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Sprite Cricket Stars launched in Dubai

The ceremony was attended by representatives from Coca-Cola, Ministry of Labour and Sprite Cricket Stars ambassador Shoaib Akhtar.

The third edition of Sprite Cricket Stars was launched in Dubai on Thursday.

The ceremony was attended by representatives from Coca-Cola, Ministry of Labour and Sprite Cricket Stars ambassador Shoaib Akhtar.

This year's tournament is going to be bigger and better, with over 30 teams competing for the chance to be crowned champions.

The play-off stages of the tournament, where the Asian populations compete alongside labourers — nine teams from labour camps and at least 16 teams from the general public will play each other during this play-off stage of the tournament.

The best teams from these rounds will be able to play in the Sprite Cricket Stars 2014 final in October at one of the top venues in the UAE.

Abdullah Al Bahar, deputy director of guidance department, the Ministry of Labour, commented: "The 2014 Sprite Cricket Stars tournament continues to provide a tremendous opportunity for the labourers in the country to get involved with a much loved passion, and as such furthers our efforts and commitment to the UAE workforce."

There is a number of prizes to be won in the tournament.

Selected fans in the stadium will be able to stand on the crease and face the 'Rawalpindi Express'. Regarded as the fastest bowler in the history of cricket, following a delivery of 161.3kmph (100.2mph) against England in 2003 World Cup, the honour of facing Shoaib Akhtar on the crease is not for the faint hearted!

Cola Middle East, the programme was launched during the Ministry of Labour's celebrations for International Labour Day to highlight the Ministry of Labour's commitment to engaging with workers and the Asian community in the UAE. Antoine Tayyar, Director of Public Affairs and Communications, Coca-Cola Middle East, said: "Coca-Cola Middle East is committed to encouraging an active, healthy lifestyle and is pleased to be able to demonstrate this through Sprite Cricket Stars 2014.

"It is a partnership between Coca-Cola and Ministry of Labour. We are adding new dimension to it this by as NGO called Smart Life has joined us in this great cause. We want to bring happiness to the people."

Shoaib Akhtar said: "The Sprite Cricket Stars 2014 programme stays true to Sprite's identity as a lively, passionate brand urging you to Obey Your Passion; in this case the passion.

"Seeing the incredible effect that Sprite Cricket Stars had on the passionate cricket fans across the country last year, I was overjoyed to be invited to participate in the programme this year again."

Deepak Kaul, Managing Director UAE & Oman at Al Ahlia Gulf Line, the official bottler and distributor partner of Coca-Cola Middle East, commented: "We are very proud of the Sprite Cricket Stars programme and are thrilled to be able to grow this campaign in 2014. This tournament is supported by a larger holistic campaign that will touch consumers in various ways — through the cricket tournament, through activities in labour accommodation and malls and through a consumer promotion.

"We will be giving away several prizes throughout the campaign, the largest of which is a chance to win Dh100,000 when batting against Shoaib. We are happy to be able to provide a platform to enable cricketers in the UAE to showcase their talents and are excited to see these talents compete in the coming months."

The winning Sprite Cricket Stars team will receive Dh50,000 in prize money, with the runners-up receiving Dh25,000.

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